As Americans crowd around the television to watch the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers play the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, they’ll dunk chips in salsa, guacamole, queso, chili and seven-layer dip. They’ll scarf down jalapeño poppers and Frito pie as cameras pan between touchdowns and Taylor Swift.
The appetizers are almost as important as the game. And many of the favorites have roots in one of the country’s most popular cuisines: Tex-Mex. These dishes and snacks have become fixtures throughout the United States over the last century thanks to clever food marketing, expanded production and distribution, and sheer deliciousness.
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Many of these foods, like chili and enchiladas, were staples of Native American and Mexican American home cooking along the Texas border. In the late 19th century and throughout the 20th, these recipes were adapted to prevailing tastes, said Adán Medrano, the author of several cookbooks, including “Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage in Recipes.”
“Tex-Mex is an Anglo invention created by Anglos for Anglos,” he said. “It’s an imitation of Texas-Mexican food.”
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